During the holidays you might be traveling, socializing with alcohol or encountering other obstacles to concealed carrying. Don’t let your loved ones spend the season defenseless without a firearm; stock up on everyday carry (EDC) kits that your family can count on. Personally, I carry all of these items whenever I can, and resort to just my flashlight and tactical pen when I’m going somewhere with heavy restrictions like a hockey game or airport. Just remember that these tools won’t magically stop an attack; the wielder must remain vigilant.
Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA Flashlight
A flashlight is possibly the most underrated EDC tool. It is multi-use, preventative and allowed everywhere. A flashlight over 300 lumens can deter a noncommittal attacker, or shock a committed one long enough for you to get away. Not only can you see in dark spaces and look for anyone lurking in a dark garage or alley, you also give off the appearance that you’re more trouble than you’re worth. Looking around with a flashlight means you’re alert, in-tune with your surroundings and able to make out an assailant’s facial features. If an attacker chooses to target you anyway, shining a flashlight in someone’s eyes will shock them and hide your exact location, at least momentarily. The strobe feature on this flashlight could allow you to stun a bad guy and make your escape. Although the Streamlight ProTac is my favorite due to its brightness, strobe feature and price point, any handheld flashlight over 300 lumens will do the trick. And if you are armed with a flashlight, it might make an intelligent attacker think twice about what else you might have up your sleeve. $37.99 at tacticalgear.com
Kimber PepperBlaster II
Why spritz an attacker with pepper spray when you could blast them? Although the PepperBlaster is less concealable than traditional pepper spray canisters, it gives me peace of mind knowing that I can defend myself from a distance. The PepperBlaster travels at 112 mph and can reach 13 feet away. Because of its unique speed and viscosity, the chemicals aren’t as affected by wind or rain as traditional OC sprays. This means your spray won’t fall flat or drift back into your own face. The PepperBlaster also isn’t pressurized like other aerosol pepper sprays, so it won’t lose its power as quickly. The best part is the dual charge feature. If you miss your target on the first try or there are two attackers, you have a second charge ready to go. Although pepper spray isn’t allowed everywhere, it generally isn’t illegal to carry while you’ve been drinking, unlike a firearm. This is an important consideration during the season of spiked eggnog and champagne toasts. (Always check your local laws, of course!) $37.99 at kimberamerica.com
Atomic Bear Rebel Tactical Pen
Tactical pens are great because you can bring them almost anywhere and they are discreet. Although this could be used to defend yourself against an attacker in a pinch, I think the major draw of tactical pens is to break glass. If you’re stuck in a car after an accident or need to break a window during a fire, you have a capable tool right in your pocket. Another plus is that you always have a pen to jot down important reminders like, “Check NRA Women’s Predictions for 2021 to see if they were right” … $22.99 at theatomicbear.com
Pocket knives can range from 10 to hundreds of dollars. Personally, I carry a $12 Tac-Force pocket knife from Amazon and it hasn’t failed me yet. The best pocket knife is the one you have on you, but the quality can vary drastically. Check out 5 Knives Sharp Women Carry for gift ideas ranging from $17 to $310. If you’re gifting to a group, a budget pocket knife is a great stocking stuffer. Your recipient might appreciate that they can be as rough on it as they please and not be afraid of losing it, too. You can’t have too many of these hyper-useful tools lying around in your car, desk, bags and pockets. If you’re feeling ambitious this year, multi-tools are also great pocket knife alternatives, as almost all of them include a knife and other handy mini-tools. Look out for ones featuring scissors and pliers for fishing, screwdrivers for gun adjustments—and corkscrews and bottle openers (if you’ve had too much family togetherness)!